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BANGKOK 13 November 2018 09:49

Thai politics and green tea business warfare

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Thai politics and green tea business warfare

By Tulsathit Taptim 
The Nation


Politicians and makers of green tea have many things in common: They and their rivals are a lot more similar than they make the public believe; they resort to heavy advertising (or propaganda if you will) and populism to differentiate and promote sales; and their fierce competition is detrimental to both themselves and their enemies.


We have recently seen market statistics that confirm the inevitabile. Oishi and Ichitan are having their financial numbers weighed down significantly by promotions, expensive giveaways and spoiled consumers who are nonetheless retreating from the brands in great droves.


A few years ago, it was different, as people drank green tea like there was no tomorrow, the majority of them hoping to win a Mercedes or gold accessories.


Ethical questions were asked at that time, when green tea bottles were flying out of hyperstore shelves and convenient store refrigerators.


Do Oishi and Ichitan even care about excessive sugar intake among Thai people? What about too much caffeine consumption?


Why make buying soft drinks become like buying a lottery ticket? In other words, why make people become addicted to gambling in addition to caffeine?


Nothing mattered. All questions were warded off by Oishi, Ichitan and their defenders. It was a free market, they said. It was "red ocean" business, in fact, meaning anything that was not against the law was acceptable.


So, the makers of "similar" products went toe to toe. Since nothing differentiated their green tea, they tried to be "different" in their "generosities". If you give away cars, we will offer condominium units. Free overseas trips were offered, along with iPhones and simply gold. On and on it went.


Green tea drinkers consumed like crazy, many unaware or forgetting that Oishi and Ichitan originated from the same root. They risked their health, whereas the green tea producers risked their balance sheets and stock prices. Everyone was skating on thin ice.


The fierce, advertisement-based competition has taken its toll. Profits have dropped like stones for both Oishi and Ichitan, and their share prices have plunged, too. Consumers, meanwhile, have been spoiled to the point where they would not buy if they did not have a shot at some freebies, be it a great trip or luxury car. They stopped drinking green tea to cure thirst a long, long time ago.


In every zero-sum game, players cross the line easily. Everyone begins with what should be done and ends up doing everything that is needed to be done, regardless of morality or ethics.


As long as politics is all about winning and losing power, not sharing it, Thai voters will be like green tea consumers and the politicians, no matter what their "colours" are, will remain makers of the green tea.


Sugar or caffeine overdose, meanwhile, is the unwanted political circumstance, or "military intervention" to be more specific. It's the "consequence" of no-holds-barred, unethical competition between the producers and gullibility on the part of consumers.


Yes, this consequence is a bad one, but we can't expect something good to come out of a bad mix, can we?


Democracy is an advertisement-based endeavour. That means there are lines that are not supposed to be crossed, as too much of anything can lead to a propaganda slippery slope.


You can criticise your opponents but you shall not lie about them. You can give voters sweet promises but you have to make sure those pledges are achievable honestly and, if implemented, will not weaken the recipients in the long run.


Stubborn child


Green tea is good for health if consumed properly, but it also contains some bad side effects, especially when people have too much of it. Who are best placed to give consumers the advice and help them benefit from the drink? The green tea producers, of course.

So, where Thai politics is concerned, the onus is on the politicians, not the military.


To ask Thais to try to end a military rule is like green tea makers telling consumers, "Keep on buying us and we will fix the sugar and caffeine overdose." It's like the green tea makers telling buyers, "Your diabetes is very bad and it has nothing to do with us."


Some people say the military can't be reasoned with, hence democracy is better. Exactly. If we have to make a very stubborn child and a teachable one learn some values, to whom should we preach? Given a choice, should we pre-empt diabetes or undergo painful treatment that guarantees no success?


In a few months, national versions of green tea makers will hit the market again.


They have two choices: Do the very same thing from here on out and expect something different that definitely will never come, or advertise a little less and add a lot more integrity to their work, after which something different may happen.

It's their choice.


Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/opinion/30346056

-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-05-23

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I don't call what Oishi and Ichitan put in those plastic bottles green tea. Not that that is the point of the article. I am sure there was a point to the article. I think it was how to torture a metaphor.

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Just now, colinneil said:

The biggest problem is people like you living in the past.

What the hell has Thaksin got to do with anything here now?

Nothing, he is gone get over it, think about the future, move on.

Thaksin has got everything to do with the future of Pheua Thai.

And Pheua Thai, as by far the most popular party in Thailand, have got a lot to do with the future of Thailand.

  • Confused 2

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Actually there is very little caffeine in green tea. 

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New green tea sold at 7-11 under name "Shizuoka" , no sugar and taste very authentic. In fact the best tasting green tea I have to date sold at 7-11 here. They say its imported leaves from Japan.


I have heard that Mr. Tan had to sell Oishi because authorities were often called to his  factory for various violations, sources have said these authorities were called on purpose to make Mr. Tan sell his business to his competitor. Which he later did and started Ichitan to compete with Oishi because he was upset.


Mr. Tan started the gold and car giveways in an effort to raise his new company profile quickly, which was an instant success as he capture a huge market share. His plan was to be able to list his company quickly on the stock exchange, which is exactly what happened also.


The competition is too fierce and I believe both giants are trying to kill each other off by seeing who can last the longest.

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12 hours ago, Samui Bodoh said:

What a stupid, stupid editorial.


Yes, superficially, politics and Green Tea sellers are similar as they both try to build support for their cause(s). However, one deals with the rules and regulations of a society; how it functions, how fairness is ensured and how peoples lives are managed and (hopefully) enhanced. The other is a soft drink.


The editorial notes that currently the two main manufacturers of the soft drinks are in financial trouble as they have gone too far in their promotions. This is not a bad thing, this is market forces working as they should. Period.


The difference between the soft drink makers having trouble and Thai politics having trouble is HUGE; in Thailand, the laws of politics aren't allowed to function. In the soft drink business, if the product isn't good, people don't buy it anymore. In politics, if the product (party) isn't good anymore, then people shouldn't/wouldn't vote for it; that is how it is supposed to work.


The problem in Thailand is that the rules for politics aren't followed. If a party governs badly, then it should be voted out and replaced by another. However, if they govern well (or well enough), they should be re-elected and given another term. Simple. Unfortunately, every time it looks like a party (essentially the 'Reds') are going to be given another term, there is a coup and the political system is reset, and 'reset' in order to give the 'Yellows and Greens' an unfair advantage.


This is why politics is such a mess in Thailand; if the rules were actually followed, then things would function as they should. Unfortunately, 'Yellows and Greens' cheat. They cheat often. They always cheat. 'Yellows and Greens' are cheating cheaters who cheat.


Let politics work. Let the voters decide who they want. Let the voters take responsibility, and in a relatively short period, Thai politics would sort itself out and the Thai people would have reasonable good governance.


It isn't rocket science.



I think this article is drawing a long bow. Desperately trying to make green tea merchandising equivalent to politics and vice versa is really stretching their desperation to strike a chord with the least intelligent reader at the direct expense of their own credibility.


Perhaps they see their world disintegrating and will try anything to be relevant. That would fit what else we know about The Nation. Interesting times.

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14 hours ago, webfact said:

Politicians and makers of green tea have many things in common

Change this to "Politicians and makers of military coups (allegory for camo green) have many things in common" and there's a lot more sense to the article.

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